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The place of politics and the politics of place: Housing, the Labour Party and the local state in England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma OrmerodORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper argues that geographical research needs to pay greater attention to political parties and their relationship to local governing. In returning to, and updating the concept of the local state, analysis of local socio-spatial and political relations reveals the quieter registers of political power in local governing, and in turn what this means for the condition of local democracy. The long-term housing regeneration of a neighbourhood in Gateshead, North East England is used here as an optic to do just that. Through moments of housing activism, the social and political relations between and within a local Labour Party and local state are considered. A local manifestation of a growing trend that questions the representation of mature structures of power that the Labour Party holds in deindustrialised areas of the UK is considered through struggles over decision-making, belonging, representation and legitimacy. Such accounts of the local scale are critical in relation to global political trends; where apathy, cynicism, lack of expectation and representation and insurgent populist parties are increasingly framed as potential political crises of mature western democracies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ormerod E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Geography

Year: 2020

Volume: 85

Print publication date: 01/03/2021

Online publication date: 17/11/2020

Acceptance date: 21/10/2020

Date deposited: 03/11/2020

ISSN (print): 0962-6298

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102308


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